Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today lashed out at Pakistan for instigating youths in Kashmir to take up arms, saying it has to change its policy, and asked the Centre to revoke AFSPA on trial basis from selected areas as a beginning towards “winning the hearts” of people.
“Today when a Kashmiri child takes up gun, they (Pakistan) call him leader and say he is doing good, but when their own children, some from madrassas etc take up gun, they attack them with drones and hang them in military courts.
“I feel Pakistan, which is viewed by people of Kashmir with sympathy, has this time committed excess. “If they instigate our children to pick up gun and then say you will become our leader if you get killed in encounter, then I think they need to change this policy,” Mehbooba told reporters here.
The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister was speaking on a day she met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh who took stock of situation in the Valley where 47 people have died and over five thousand civilians and security personnel have been injured in clashes that followed the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
“Pakistan says that we are victims of terror, their 146 children died in school attack in single day and people fear to go inside their mosques,” Mehbooba said, hitting out at the neighbouring country for encouraging violence in Kashmir.
The Chief Minister said there is a need to take “bold measures to address the issue as the people of Jammu and Kashmir were our own”.
She said there was an opportunity not just for the whole country but for Pakistan as well to have a dialogue and address the issue.
Mehbooba said a start has to be made from somewhere to improve the situation in the state and suggested revocation of AFSPA from some areas, beginning with 25 to 50 police stations, as an experiment.
“As far as AFSPA is concerned, we were not saying that it should be revoked in one go. But, as a test case, on experimental basis, if it is revoked slowly and it can be seen how the situation remained in such areas.
“If the situation remained well, then it should be revoked entirely or it it can be reimplemented if you feel that militancy did not allow it to be revoked,” the Chief Minister said.
“The start has to be from somewhere, the experiments have to be from somewhere like it (AFSPA) be revoked from 25 or 40 police stations to see the reaction,” she said.
The controversial Armed Forces Special Forces Act gives immunity from prosecution and other legal proceedings to the armed forces and PDP and opposition National Conference have been demanding its revocation.
Mehbooba said her father Mufti Mohammed Sayeed took two month to forge an alliance with the BJP and made an agenda of alliance to show a way to take J-K “out of the morass and that cannot be done only by money or packages”.
“There are some issues like dialogue, peace process, winning hearts of people here,” she said. “I hope the Home Minister, whose statement in the Parliament was very good, he tried to reach out to the people of J-K, that has not been missed here.
“I think today we have an opportunity, for the whole country as well as for Pakistan, that if they are really our well-wishers, then they should talk,” she said.